BIC Fight for Your Write: A Campaign to Save Handwriting
Growing up in pre-digital age, school was all about writing. From taking notes in class to keeping a diary at home, handwriting was the main form of preserving information. If I had to memorize history for exams, I would write down the names of kings or dynasties hundreds of times on a piece of paper. If I wanted to pass a message to my friend, I would write a letter on a piece of decorative writing paper.
Then the digital age came. Today, schools give kids digital devices for them to study. Kids nowadays take notes on their devices. And people send messages online by typing on computer or smartphones, instead of writing letters on a piece of paper.
The digital transformation disrupted handwriting. In fact, when did I last handwrite something long or at least meaningful? Maybe a few years ago. And I reckon many of the readers would also not have handwritten for ages.
To save handwriting from going extinct, BIC, a ballpoint pens manufacturer, launched a campaign called “BIC Fight for Your Write” in North America in 2014.
Why Are Handwriting Skills Important?
The mission of BIC was to promote handwriting among parents and educators so that kids learn handwriting. Through their video commercials, the company took initiative to remind people the importance of handwriting.
The videos of BIC Fight for Your Write shared interesting facts about handwriting:
- Writing helps foster creativity;
- It also helps improve critical thinking skills, helping make fly-through finals;
- Writing helps boost self-confidence;
- Better writers make better readers.
In short, “Writing can make you awesome!” From my own experience as a re-digital-age student, I strongly agree with these facts. When I take a pen on paper, I can fully engage with my deep thoughts, which doesn’t happen when I just type on a keyboard. Furthermore, I believe that handwriting increases memory retention. (Especially true from my exam experiences!)
BIC not only exhibited these facts but also physically promoted stationaries and supported children. In the US, BIC Fight for Your Write campaign gave away $1,200 BIC Prize Pack. It also gave away $10,000 worth of stationaries to Canadian schools. In addition to stationaries, it donated $10,000 to the Breakfast Club of Canada to help feed children healthy meals. This was because they acknowledged that 60% of the learning in school happens before lunch.
Encouraging Handwriting ≠ Discouraging Digital Skills
As a Millennial who are familiar with both analogue and digital tools at an early age, I am confident that I can switch from keyboard to handwriting swiftly. However, what if we only teach kids how to tap on screen or how to type on keyboard? Just as the generation who were only taught handwriting and were not familiar with typing, they might get confused in switching from typing to handwriting. Thus, developing both the skills—handwriting and typing skills— are crucial for child education.
Interestingly, BIC Fight for Your Write campaign asked people to make the pledge online, not by handwriting. Making the pledge digitally was easier than doing so analogously, enabling more people to take part in the campaign. According to then-brand manager Michael Salfi at BIC, making the pledge digitally “allows the Bic Fight For Your Write pledge to live in a format where all participants can see the pledges being made across the country and access information on the benefits of handwriting.”